Time and again, I have had one recurring conversation with Christians and non-Christians alike - what do you have to do to be a follower of Christ? How do you know someone is a follower of Christ? So today I ask, what is the identifying mark of a Christian? Is it how often people see or hear about you reading your bible? Is it how often you make it to church? Is it how loudly you pray? Is it in a showy display of praise? What should set Christians apart from all others?
Never fear, because Christ answers that question loud and clear! He made the identifying mark of his followers crystal clear. He said:
"By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." - John 13:35 (emphasis mine)
Yes folks. Love. That is the identifying trait of a Christian. Loving others. I have the symbol above on the back of my car. And I can't tell you how many times I find myself ashamed because displaying love while driving in NYC is one of the hardest things to do. And yet, that is how I show that I am a disciple of Christ. And I'm not just supposed to show any old love. This is not love by my understanding. But Christ made the kind of love that he was referring to very clear. He said:
"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another." - John 13:34
Now, let's unwrap this a bit. Christ said this the very night that he was to be crucified for our sins. He knew what was going to occur that night. And he told his disciples to love each other as he loved them!
Whew! So we're supposed to love each other to the point of laying down our life for each other... That's a special kind of love. But that's just one thing we'd be able to do for each other if we had Christ's love in us.
So, just what is love? How do we show it in everyday life? For that answer, I send you here:
Agape Epistle - Love Letter